Mazda has taken a bit of a step back from performance with its latest generation of 3. But with the arrival of the Mazda3 Turbo, power figures started to be shared that made it look a bit more like a hot hatch.

Its 2.5-liter, 16-valve, turbocharged inline 4 makes 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. That’s not quite on par with the Golf R’s 288 hp, but it’s easily more than the VW’s 280 lb-ft of torque. So, is a 30 lb-ft advantage enough to offset a 70 hp disadvantage?


No. Nah, the Golf R walks the Mazda3 Turbo in both the standing and the rolling quarter-mile races. And that’s without even using launch control, which this video’s hosts persuaded the Golf R’s driver not to do.

Admittedly, the Mazda gets a great start, leaping off the line and into an early lead, but the Golf’s power advantage can’t be repressed and it runs into a comfortable lead in both races.

The WRX, meanwhile, is hamstrung by its CVT transmission that doesn’t appear to be designed with straight-line performance in mind.

There’s more good news, too. On a track, though the Mazda3 Turbo is improved over the regular model, it’s still more of a tepid hatch than a hot one. Although it has a lovely interior that makes the Golf R’s cabin look a little depressing, if tidy, the Mazda isn’t really about fun.